The port of Esbjerg employs more than 10.000 workers, and most of them are somehow connected to the oil and gas industry. Job functions will undoubtedly disappear and a great number of workers will be met with challenges as new skills requirements are introduced.
On that occasion, the port is initiating a new educational program to meet with the growing demands for new skills and competences from the green transition.
The case of Port Esbjerg provides a great example on worker involvement for the green transition through providing opportunities within further education. Through initiatives like “Offshore Academy”, social partners and enterprises make sure that the specific competences of the workers are taken advantage of.
This is both a way of securing the most stable and knowledge-based transition possible, and of securing the workers’ roles in the labour market throughout the transition.
The Necessity of Further Education and Skills Development
Unskilled workers of the non-renewable energy sector hold highly specialized competences that will be important resources when oil and gas extraction is being phased out.
However, these workers often face the lack of acknowledgement for their competences, and are in need for formal competence clarifications. Here, retraining courses can be at great help. These could amongst others be directed at new technologies.
“In taking advantage of the possibilities inherent in the green transition, it is especially important that education and training systems, including further education programmes are able to react quickly to match the skills that are demanded by the labour market.” Bente Sorgenfrey, Vice-President
Further education and training can provide the individual worker with better opportunities in the labour market, and enable the workers to actively contribute to the transition through the implementation of new technologies and solutions. In addition, it can give the workers a greater sense of ownership and involvement.
The Port of Esbjerg remains an important extractor of oil and gas for energy production, on borrowed time due to the green transition and our aim at climate neutrality by 2050. This has called for the need for a reskilling program of the workers to meet the demands of the transition. In cooperation with the United Federation of Workers in Denmark, Esbjerg – Port Esbjerg has therefore gone at the forefront in developing a new offshore educational program.
The education is meant to secure Port Esbjerg’s role as the world’s largest exporter of offshore wind, and to protect its workers in the face of the transition.
The ambition is to create a new educational program named “Offshore Academy”. The program will be developed in close cooperation between trade unions and the enterprises.
“Port Esbjerg shows how further education can bring the workers a fairer position in the labour market in the years to come. Only through social dialogue, and investing in and promoting further education, can we secure a just transition for all.” Bente Sorgenfrey, Vice-President
The Transition from Non-Renewable Energy Production to Offshore Wind
With its excellent geographic location for shipment, Port Esbjerg is the world’s largest wind energy base port. Since the 1870s, the port has been the primary centre for trade and sea carriage between Denmark and the rest of the world.
Today, the port has become an international, multimodal transport centre, where more than 200 companies are located, and around 10,000 people work.
The port started out as a fishing port, but later established its position as the Danish capital for oil and gas. After the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the 1960’s, the offshore industry flourished, and a number of large oil and gas companies established themselves in Esbjerg, still being the main base for Danish oil and gas industry.
However, around year 2000, offshore wind power emerged as a new business area. Companies in Esbjerg contributed to Denmark’s first large-scale offshore wind farm, built in the North Sea in 2002.
The offshore wind industry has gone through rapid developments ever since, and the Port of Esbjerg is now Europe’s leading port in terms of shipping out and managing wind power. Today, the port covers an area of 4,5 million m2 in total, making it the largest port in Denmark.
As of now, Esbjerg’s main objective for the green transition is the transition towards green energy. One major Danish initiative from non-renewable to renewable energy production is the construction of an energy island in the Danish part of the North Sea.
Within a period of ten years, the island is to be up and running. Port Esbjerg plays an important role in realizing this plan.
Esbjerg’s contribution is the port’s insights and experiences after a course of years within the offshore sector. In this way, Port Esbjerg contributes with important insights in terms of materials, tools, ships and strategies for constructing the island.
In addition, the new island will open for a great amount of new, green jobs, and the need for further education and upskilling.
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